The Motorway Archive
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What is the Motorway Archive?
Work on developing the UK Motorway system, which transformed British travel, started in the mid-1950s. The Motorway Archive celebrates the engineering achievement involved in the conception, planning, design and construction of this transport network by thousands of dedicated professionals. The Archive itself is a collection of as many of the documents and artefacts, which were associated with the development, as it has been possible to find. From this wealth of material has come the story of each motorway developed in Britain over the last 50 years. This is the story of one of them.

Region: North East

M62. County Boundary to North Cave (west of J37 to J38)

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County Boundary to Balkholme (west of J37 to east of J37) - Balkholme to North Cave (East of J37 to J38)

County Boundary to Balkholme (west of J37 to east of J37)

This contract comprised eight kilometres of motorway commencing east of the River Ouse just south of Howden and extending to the A63 near Balkholme and was awarded to Clugston Construction Ltd.

The works included one interchange, the construction of the 0.7km dual carriageway Howden Spur (a connection to A614), two side road alignments and three overbridges together with drainage works including pipe and box culverts. The earthworks in the embankment was imported fill material.

The construction of a surcharged embankment in the Hail Farm peat area was completed in advance under the adjacent Ouse Bridge Contract and these works were monitored by instrumentation installed under that contract. Possession of that part of the Site was not granted until after the commencement of the Works.

Alternative designs for flexible and rigid carriageway construction were prepared for part of the motorway; all side roads, interchanges, slip roads, Howden Spur and the motorway main carriageway in Hail Farm peat area and west of that area were of flexible construction.

The adjoining contracts, the M62 Ouse Bridge Contract to the west and the M62 Balkholme - Cave Section to the east, were in progress concurrently with this contract.

The contract period was 24 months and the works should have been completed within this period with ease. In the event it was almost three years before the works were finished.

The contract did not include the alternative item for use of imported colliery shale because it had been decided that it was not viable. Unfortunately at a meeting in Beverly between the East and West Riding Planners they agreed that borrow pits should not be allowed in the east Riding whilst the supplies of Colliery shale were available in West Riding. This led to a very long delay before Planning Permission was granted by the East Riding County Council, and the Contractor rather unwisely did not progress the works until the Planning Permission was agreed.

The combined value of the East and West Road Contracts was about 6 million.

With the completion of the Ouse Bridge the whole length of the M62 Lancashire motorway came into operation and provided a direct link between the ports of Liverpool and Hull.

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Balkholme to North Cave (East of J37 to J38)

Balkholme to Cave, 10.3 kilometres in length, is the eastern most section of the M62 Trans-Pennine motorway linking Liverpool and Hull and by-passes the villages of Gilberdyke and Newport, rejoining the existing A63 Trunk Road to Hull at a grade-separated interchange near North Cave. There are ten major structures including crossings of the main Selby to Hull railway and the Market Weighton Canal and 7.6 kilometres of associated single carriageway side road works to various standards. Over much of the eastern half of the contract, the motorway follows the line of the abandoned Hull and Barnsley railway line.

The motorway has an overall width of 35.6 m consisting of dual 3-lane concrete carriageways, each 11 m wide. There is a 4 m central reservation and two outer margins each 4.8 m wide comprising a 3.3 m hardshoulder (including the marginal strip) and a 1.5 m verge incorporating a drainage channel where appropriate.

Concrete paving on the M62 Balkholme - Cave contract, incorporated Britain's first lengths of continuously reinforced concrete carriageway, to carry the motorway over unfavourable ground at the eastern end of the contract.

Continuously reinforced slabs had been extensively used in the United States and Belgium but not previously in the UK on a major road contract; the principle is to promote hairline cracking at frequent intervals (1.5 - 2 m) with the relatively heavy longitudinal reinforcement restricting the cracks to a width which will maintain aggregate-interlock load transfer and require no sealing. The resulting increased flexibility of the slab was expected to cope with the anticipated longitudinal and lateral settlements on this section of poor sub-soil better than more familiar forms of construction.

Prior to the commencement of the main contract, advance drainage works were completed over some sections of the scheme to drain the ground and improve its bearing capacity. In addition, advanced earthworks were carried out where the motorway partially overlaid a disused railway embankment and an area of variable depth compressible material, including peat which would create both general and differential settlement problems within each carriageway. A surcharged embankment, 4.5 m in height, was constructed with sand drains installed from ground level enabling a large proportion of the anticipated settlement to occur prior to the construction of the motorway pavement. Soils instrumentation in the form of inclinometers, hydraulic piezometers and horizontal settlement gauges were incorporated to monitor the behaviour of the embankment and in addition several large scale laboratory consolidation tests using 10 in. diameter Rowe cells were carried out on peat samples to quantify the long-term settlements.

It was in this area where continuously reinforced construction was adopted.

As the motorway was constructed entirely on embankment, the earthworks mainly involved the import of almost a million cubic metres of bulk fill materials, including a hard rock chalk, which formed a 0.5 m thick pervious drainage blanket at ground level. The shallow embankments which form the major part of the contract were constructed generally of Bunter Sandstone and rock chalk whereas the higher embankments which carry the motorway over the Selby to Hull railway consisted of clay, extracted from a borrow pit adjacent to the site, capped with 0.5 m of chalk at formation level and in addition pulverised fuel ash was incorporated within the high sections to minimise settlement. A CBR value well in excess of 6 was attained at formation level throughout.

Drainage was by means of in situ concrete channels, laid virtually level in many areas, designed to drain hydraulically. Over 12km of large open ditches, constructed on either side of the motorway, provide drainage outfalls and a 1000 m of culverts form twenty interconnections under both the motorway and side roads.

In advanced earthworks area, where the surcharge had been removed, by correlating the continuing output of the soils instrumentation and laboratory consolidation test data it was possible to predict the rate and magnitude of the long-term transverse and longitudinal settlements. As it was anticipated that the secondary creep settlement of the embankment would continue for a considerable time, a continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) was adopted. It was considered that this form of construction would readily accommodate the future ground movements expected, owing to its greater inherent flexibility in comparison with a conventional concrete pavement.

CRCP reinforcement

The detailed design of the CRCP was developed on site by the Durham County Council Sub-Unit with the assistance of the Transport and Road Research Laboratory and was based on Belgian practice.

The continuously reinforced slab, 230 mm thick, was constructed in two sections, 540 and 840 m in length, and was heavily reinforced with a total of 200 tonnes of deformed high tensile reinforcement (0.6 % steel longitudinally), provided to induce cracking with load transfer by aggregate interlock. A 60 mm thick layer of bituminous roadbase was laid under the concrete, providing a uniformly rough base upon which to set up the bar reinforcement mat on purpose-made stools in advance of the paving operation and also act as a waterproof membrane, protecting the sub-base from water which might subsequently percolate through the slab.

In other countries the absence of joints had been found to improve the riding quality and reduce maintenance costs.

McAlpine's paving train

Elsewhere an unreinforced concrete pavement, 280 mm thick was used for the 11.2 m wide three-lane carriageways, including the marginal strips; the adjacent hard shoulders were of flexible construction. Both concrete and flexible pavements were laid on 170 mm of non frost-susceptible Type 1 crushed limestone sub-base which has provided a firm running surface for the heavy paving machinery. The concrete slab, which has contraction joints at 6 m centres, was constructed in a single pass using McAlpine's Guntert and Zimmerman slip-form paver with SGME ancillary equipment. The transverse joint dowel bars were supported on fabric cradle assemblies which were set up in advance of the paving together with the bottom crack inducer and the longitudinal joint tie bars; these were fixed into the sub-base on top of the polythene sheeting.

At the eastern end of the contract, two short lengths of two-lane carriageway with an integral hard strip, were also formed by the machine. Short lengths of flexible construction incorporating transfer slabs were used for the motorway pavement adjacent to over-bridges which cross the Market Weighton canal and Selby to Hull railway. Sections of pavement incorporating contraction joints formed using narrow unsealed sawn grooves and plastic and bitumen coated dowel bars were included as a TRRL experiment.

Concrete was mixed on site using a Rex automatic batching plant incorporating a 7.5 cubic metre capacity tilting drum mixer. Aggregates and cement were imported to site by a combination of road and rail transport and large stockpiles were established in advance of the paving operation. A Zone 2/3 quartzite sand was used and the coarse aggregate was a crushed carboniferous limestone which was separately stockpiled and batched in the 5-10 mm and 10-20 mm grading ranges.

The mix had an aggregate/cement ratio of 6.4:1 with 40% sand content to achieve the required workability a slump of 25-40 mm. Strength was controlled by the cylinder-splitting method as required by the DOE specification. In addition, however, comparative tests using 150 mm cubes were carried out for correlation purposes. The cement content of the mix was also constantly monitored by a Cement and Concrete Association Rapid Analysis Machine installed in the site laboratory. Altogether some 65,000 m³ of concrete was placed.

Mixed material was transported to the paver using purpose-built four-axle non-tipping ejector trunks with a 7.5 m³ capacity which matched the batch size. The trucks were fitted with hydraulically actuated sliding ejector bulkheads and tailgates which enabled a rapid but controlled discharge to be made onto the belt conveyors feeding the paving machine.

The finished pavement

The four unit paving train, obtained by McAlpines had been used on the M27 in Hampshire although several modifications were incorporated. The principal element was a wire-guided Guntert and Zimmerman slip-form paver incorporating a 2 mm long conforming plate laying a 11.2 m wide slab. The machine ran on a pair of crawler tracks incorporating differential-speed steering together with four vertical rams for level adjustment; a belt-feed system on a rigid forward frame extension enabled the operator to maintain an even surcharge in front of the metering gate. Vibrating longitudinal joint formers behind the conforming plate and between the transverse oscillating finishing beam and the final static suspended float pan were used to insert a permanent preformed sealing strip.

The other units in the train were a transverse joint groove former, transverse joint finisher and a combined brush-texturing and curing spray machine, all of which were carried on rubber tyres and were wire-guided, made to McAlpines' specification by SGME. Pre-formed rigid cellular filler strips were inserted by a vertical vibrating blade and removable upper portion was subsequently pulled from the hardened concrete, the groove formed being filled with a neoprene compression seal.

The joint finisher incorporated a wide surface float and two vibrating plates adjacent to the filler strip which traversed the slab across each joint. The texture was applied transversely by a 2 m wide wire brush and an aluminised curing agent subsequently sprayed onto the slab.

There were ten major structures on the contract, including five four-span overbridges of a standard design with continuous decks of reinforced concrete voided-slab construction having spans of up to 25 m. Two single-span structures incorporating standard pre-cast prestressed concrete inverted T-beams span the Market Weighton canal and a highly skewed bridge with large cellular abutments and a standard concrete M-beam deck carries the motorway over the main Selby to Hull railway line.

At the western end there is an unusual large span accommodation bridge with a 'through-girder' style deck configuration incorporating large pre-cast edge beams which were supplied in half-lengths and subsequently post-tensioned.

Over 8000 m of segmental pre-cast concrete piles with a square cross-section, varying in length from 11 to 27 m were required in the foundations of six of the bridges. Where the piles were driven through compressible strata, a bitumen slip coating was applied over the appropriate length of the piles to reduce negative skin friction.

The contract was completed having commenced in May 1974.

Although the M62 terminates on the A63 at North Cave, the A63 trunk Road provides direct access from this point to Hull and the East Coast. With the motorway connecting with the Welsh North Coast Road, the coast to coast crossing was completed and more direct connection to Ireland achieved.

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